GIA in San Francisco - Don't Miss It, Don't Even Be Late

I’ve been to many conferences in my life. Too many really to even begin to count them. I am always astonished by how much energy they give me (and it’s not just the cookies and candy in the afternoon.) Just recently, I attended TCG in Los Angeles and Chorus America in San Francisco. There is something truly magical about being in a place filled with people who know what you know, speak what you speak and treasure what you treasure. It is a sense of community, of understanding and of empathy.

That’s really what conferences are about. It’s not about the keynotes or the sessions or the over-priced chicken. It’s really about your “peeps.” OK, so don’t tell my conference co-chairs or GIA Deputy Director Tommer Peterson that it’s not about the keynotes or the sessions because they’ve worked tirelessly to put an incredible program together for San Francisco.

Surprisingly, in these hard times, conference attendance is up. I just read that the TCG conference broke their attendance record. The GIA conference hit an all time high in Brooklyn in 2009 and then another all time high in Chicago in 2010. Our “community of practice” becomes an important support group when we are so unsure of what we’re doing and when the future is so unpredictable.

I have always been a gatherer of people. I gather my high school and college classmates. I gather family, I gather friends that I think have things in common just so they can share with each other. It is only natural that I should have had a career in association work, gathering people who are art makers and art supporters to come together to seek answers and try to find the right questions.

So, grantmakers in the arts…come to San Francisco, October 9-12. Registration is now open and we have a fantastic line-up of speakers, presenters, salon moderators and artists in one of America’s most historic hotels in one of America’s most beautiful cities. The issues are tough ones and we hope the conversations and debates will reflect that. Topics include equity in funding, changing demographics and the power of new technologies that are shaping our lives and our communities.

If the camaraderie displayed by our conference co-chairs John McGuirk, Ted Russell, Frances Phillips and Diane Sanchez and the Bay Area arts funders in general is any indication of what the conference will be like, I can only say…don’t miss this one. Register today and join the conversation and community of arts funders throughout America. We’re having the big discussions and we want you there.

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